3 Steps for Leaders to Hit Fundraising Goals
Does it feel like 2023 is already flying by? January is usually spent thanking donors. So for many nonprofits, January is not a big fundraising month. If you’re like many nonprofit leaders, your January number can make it easy to get discouraged about your annual fundraising goals.
Be encouraged though — the first quarter of the year isn’t even over yet. You still have lots of 2023 to go. Investing most of January’s time to thank your donors was arguably the best use of your fundraising time as a leader. Most nonprofits are awful at thanking donors, so the fact that you said “thank you” makes you stand out more than you know.
A Realistic Way to Set Quarterly Fundraising Goals
One of the biggest challenges as a nonprofit leader is that fundraising goals are easy to set but challenging to meet. And fundraising revenue typically fluctuates monthly. You may have a goal for the year, but most nonprofits do not have a steady, consistent monthly income from donations.
Here are three steps to ensure you’re setting realistic quarterly fundraising goals for the rest of 2023.
1. Map Your Quarterly Flows
Look over the past three to five years of your fundraising revenue and map out what percentage of your overall fundraising came in each quarter. Looking back over many years can help you even out capital campaigns or huge planned gifts that may skew your results.
2. Set Quarterly Dollar Goals for the Year
Take your 2023 fundraising goal and set quarterly goals based on your research in step No. 1. Perhaps you found that 10% to 15% of your overall fundraising generally comes in the first quarter.
While it would be great to raise more, knowing your revenue doesn’t come in evenly throughout the year can help keep you from setting up unrealistic expectations with your fundraising team. Rather than being frustrated that 25% of the goal is not yet raised, check to see if you are on track to raise 15%.
3. Set Activity Goals for Each Quarter
Successful fundraising is not constant asking. Just like you need to prepare a field, sow seed and tend to the plants in order to get a harvest, you also need to take multiple steps with donors.
See if your database can determine how many touches your nonprofit typically makes between a donor’s gifts. For your major giving program, how many touches — calls, notes, visits, letters, etc. — are typically made between each solicitation?
Figuring this out can help you to set goals for how many touches your team should be doing each quarter. And how many touches you should be doing. After all, leading a nonprofit means you are going to have to be involved in doing fundraising. You cannot “subcontract” all the fundraising to your team.
One of the biggest irritations for nonprofit leaders is the ebb and flow of fundraising results. Fundraising with donors is not like invoicing customers for a product. There are natural ebbs and flows throughout the year.
Doing these three steps will help you set realistic goals for you and your fundraising team. It will help you be more informed when talking about finances at your regular board meetings. And it will help keep you accountable for the fundraising tasks you should be doing, too.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
Concord Leadership Group founder Marc A. Pitman, CSP, helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. Whether it’s through one-on-one coaching of executives, conducting high-engagement trainings or growing leaders through his ICF-accredited coach certification program, his clients grow in stability and effectiveness.
He is the author of "The Surprising Gift of Doubt: Use Uncertainty to Become the Exceptional Leader You Are Meant to Be" He’s also the author of "Ask Without Fear!"— which has been translated into Dutch, Polish, Spanish and Mandarin. A FranklinCovey-certified coach and Exactly What To Say Certified Guide, Marc’s expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences around the world both in person and with online presentations.
He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing '80s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family!